Your USDOT number and operating authority are only the beginning
Setting up your USDOT number and operating authority (both interstate and intrastate in many cases) is only the beginning when starting a trucking company. Once those are in place, the next phase of licensing, registration, and permitting begins.
Use this checklist to make sure your operations are compliant under the following programs:
- UCR: Under the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) program, the following entities must register and pay a fee before operating in interstate commerce:
- Private property carriers;
- For-hire passenger, property, and exempt commodity carriers;
- Freight forwarders;
- Leasing companies; and
- IRP: Under the International Registration Plan (IRP), carriers operating certain vehicles in interstate commerce may need to register those vehicles with apportioned plates or purchase temporary trip permits when operating outside of their base jurisdiction.
- IFTA: Under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), carriers operating certain vehicles in interstate commerce may need to:
- Obtain a license and file quarterly fuel tax returns, or
- Purchase temporary fuel permits when operating outside of their base jurisdiction.
- HVUT: Under the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) program, carriers must file Form 2290 and Schedule 1 if a taxable highway motor vehicle is registered (or required to be registered) in their name under any state or District of Columbia, Canadian, or Mexican law at the time of its first use. This program applies to highway motor vehicles with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more and includes trucks, tractors, and buses.
- State highway use/mileage taxes: Several states assess mileage or highway use taxes on motor vehicles. This tax is in addition to fuel use taxes and must be reported on a separate report from the IFTA return. States that have an additional mileage or highway tax include:
- Connecticut: The CT highway use fee applies to eligible motor vehicles 26,000 pounds or more.
- Kentucky: Known as the KYU number, this program applies to all vehicles 60,000 lbs. or more.
- New Mexico: The NM weight-distance tax applies to all vehicles 26,001 lbs. or more.
- New York: The NY Highway Use Tax (HUT) applies to all vehicles that are either 18,000 lbs. GVW; or the empty weight is 8,000 lbs. or more for a truck, or 4,000 lbs. or more for a tractor.
- Oregon: The OR weight-mileage tax applies to all vehicles 26,001 lbs. or more.
- Hazmat registration: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) administers a national hazmat registration program and annual fee-collection system for persons offering or transporting certain hazardous materials in foreign, interstate, or intrastate commerce.
- Hazmat safety permit: The federal Hazardous Materials Safety Permit Program applies to intrastate, interstate, and foreign motor carriers transporting certain types and amounts of hazardous materials.
Setting up your USDOT number and operating authority is just the beginning when it comes to starting a trucking company. Once those initial steps are completed, focus on licensing, registration, and permitting. Compliance with these requirements helps to ensure the legality and smooth operation of your business right out of the gate.